The ACT Government is the governing body of the Australian Capital Territory, which is located in the southeastern part of Australia. The government is responsible for providing a range of services and programs to the people of the ACT, including health care, education, public transport, and environmental protection. One of the key priorities of the ACT Government is to promote decarbonisation and the use of renewable energy sources in order to reduce the territory's carbon footprint and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change.
The ACT Government has set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy sources. In 2016, the government announced a target of achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2020, which was achieved ahead of schedule in 2019. The government has also set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020, compared to 1990 levels, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2045.
To achieve these targets, the ACT Government has implemented a range of policies and programs to promote the use of renewable energy sources and reduce energy consumption. One of the key initiatives is the ACT's Renewable Energy Auction Scheme, which has been in operation since 2015. Under this scheme, the government invites bids from renewable energy developers to supply electricity to the territory's grid. The successful bidders are awarded long-term contracts to supply electricity at a fixed price, which provides certainty for investors and helps to drive down the cost of renewable energy.
Another important initiative is the Corporate Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program, which provides funding and support to businesses and organisations in the ACT to improve their energy efficiency and switch to renewable energy sources. The program offers grants for energy audits, energy-efficient equipment, and renewable energy installations, as well as technical advice and training.
The ACT Government has also been a pioneer in the use of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) to promote the development of renewable energy projects. In 2016, the government signed a 20-year PPA with the Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia, which was at the time the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere. The PPA enabled the government to secure a long-term supply of renewable energy at a fixed price, while also providing a stable revenue stream for the wind farm developers.
More recently, the ACT Government has signed a series of corporate PPAs with renewable energy developers to support the construction of new wind and solar projects in the ACT and surrounding regions. These PPAs provide a stable revenue stream for the developers, which helps to secure financing for the projects and reduce the cost of renewable energy for consumers.
The ACT Government has also taken steps to reduce its own carbon footprint and promote the use of renewable energy in its own operations. In 2016, the government announced a target of achieving carbon neutrality for its own operations by 2020, which was achieved ahead of schedule in 2019. The government has also implemented a range of energy efficiency measures in its buildings and facilities, and has installed solar panels and other renewable energy systems to generate electricity.
Overall, the ACT Government has demonstrated a strong commitment to decarbonisation and the use of renewable energy sources. The government's policies and programs have helped to drive down the cost of renewable energy, promote energy efficiency, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The use of corporate PPAs has been particularly effective in promoting the development of new renewable energy projects, while also providing a stable revenue stream for developers and reducing the cost of renewable energy for consumers. As the world continues to grapple with the challenges of climate change, the ACT Government's leadership in decarbonisation and renewable energy provides a model for other jurisdictions to follow.